New Research Tackles Major Cause of Death Following Stroke

Posted on 22 November 2016

Stroke patients, who are more susceptible to pneumonia, could soon benefit from a nationwide research study, led by Keele University and University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM).

The MAPS-2 trial, which will open to recruitment in spring 2017, has secured £1.9m of funding from the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme. The study sets a new record at the Trust, for the largest research grant ever received.

The research study will be led by Professor Christine Roffe, Stroke Clinical Research Lead at UHNM and Lead of the Stroke Research in Stoke Group at ISTM (Institue of Science and Technology in Medicine) at Keele University. Dr Anushka Warusevitane, Stroke Associate Specialist at the Trust, will be co-Chief Investigator of the study, which will be looking at reducing pneumonia in patients following a stroke. Pneumonia is a major cause of death and disability after stroke, and is mainly caused by inhaling saliva containing bacteria, or gastric content after vomiting or regurgitation when the patient cannot swallow safely.

The grant will be used to test two methods of preventing pneumonia. One will aim to prevent patients vomiting, whilst the other method will be to use an antibacterial paste in the patient’s mouth to reduce bacteria in their saliva.

Professor Roffe, who is Chief Investigator in the UK for this trial, said: “Pneumonia after stroke weakens patients and delays recovery. In this trial we are hoping to show that these treatments not only prevent pneumonia and death, but also allow patients to recover better and faster.

“If this treatment is effective, we expect more patients to be alive and independent after stroke, and more able to get back to their normal lives.”

Professor Roffe has a proven track record in shaping the development of acute and rehabilitation stroke services in North Staffordshire, with research that has gone on to influence regional and national practices in stroke care. 

Dr Simon Lea, Academic Development Officer at the Trust, helped the research team with its application for funding. He said: “This is the largest research grant awarded to UHNM to date, and represents many months of hard work over three stages of application and reviewer comments.

“The Academic Development Team is delighted to have contributed to Professor Roffe’s successful application for funding in this very important area.”

Professor Jeremy Kirk, Clinical Director of the NIHR Clinical Research Network West Midlands said: "We congratulate the team at UHNM on their outstanding success in securing this substantial research grant to enable more world-class research to be led by, and carried out in the West Midlands. Stroke is a major cause of both death and disability, and this ground-breaking study will hopefully lead to more positive outcomes for stroke patients."

For more information about the National Institute for Health Research see